We called Dawn Lupul ‘extraordinary’ when we featured her on this site a month ago, and that was no exaggeration. As writer Emily Shields said at the time she “is more than just a regular face and shrewd voice on the daily Woodbine simulcast show”. Lupul is a racing analyst at Woodbine Racetrack, and sometime race-caller at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She is a former Standardbred owner, breeder and trainer, and recently won North America’s National Horseplayers Championship Charity Challenge.
Who do you think is the most important figure in world racing history?
I have to pick a horse, of course. The excellence that Northern Dancer displayed, both on and off the track in North America, continues to impress even 19 years after his passing. As a Canadian-bred who went on to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, he stamped himself as a legend even before he went on to be a champion sire. His legacy reached every corner of the racing world.
From humble beginnings to immortality, the little guy from Ontario exemplified class and heart every step of the way.
Which is your favourite venue and race?
I’ve always been a fan of Gulfstream Park. It probably has something to do with the palm trees and the beautiful January weather.
My favourite race is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It is such a prestigious event and allows the best of the best to battle in a grueling test of wills. There are so many captivating stories behind the scenes and it is the perfect climax to a wonderful weekend of racing.
What is your fondest memory in racing?
There are too many to narrow down. I’ve been involved in horse racing since I was six years old in multiple capacities. I’ve been a fan, a bettor, an owner, a trainer, a breeder and an analyst. From each of these viewpoints, I have fond memories and lots of great stories, and great races, particularly Cigar’s fantastic victory in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont Park (see video below).
What do you see as the biggest challenge racing faces today?
Economics. It is difficult to turn a profit as a breeder or an owner in many of the markets. Ensuring that the horse supply is adequate to support quality fields is challenging for all racetracks right now. It is important that there is enough incentive for people to continue to be involved in the sport as a viable business.
If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?
Although it isn’t an easy thing to fix, it would be great if the major racetracks were able to coordinate post times better so races aren’t going off at exactly the same time. That way the customers aren’t forced to choose between which track to watch and bet on.